- Created on 19 June 2013
Local small business owners will have the chance to attend Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell’s Back to Business (B2B) conference for business advice and networking opportunities.
The free conference, which is in its second year, brings small business owners together for informative session on how to help their businesses grow and thrive. The conference will offer attendees the opportunity to network with representatives from a number of large corporations including the Atlanta Falcons, the Coca-Cola Company, Home Depot and more. So far, more than 550 people have registered for the event.
“This is the Council President Mitchell’s second year hosting this event, and he made a conscience decision to do it bigger and better this year because of its success in 2012,” said Nikki Frenney-Wiggins, Council President Communications Director. “Businesses that participated last year have regularly contacted the Council President to share how the conference helped them secure a business deal thanks to the networking opportunities available at the B2B.”
The Atlanta Falcons will be present at the event to discuss the requirements and resources small businesses will need to do business at and around the new downtown Falcons stadium.
“I am excited to have the Falcons support this event and to have the organization share with the business community its ideas and plans for increasing opportunities for local small businesses with the stadium project,” said Mitchell. “This panel discussion is sure to be engaging and enlightening, as well as a must attend for any business looking partner with the Falcons on mutual business endeavors.”
The General Services Administration has also partnered with Mitchell to help make this year’s B2B Conference a success.
“B2B provides a forum for GSA to support local small businesses, while also equipping them with the information they need to do business with the federal government,” said Saudia Muwwakkil, representative for GSA. “Small businesses are an important part of the work GSA does and on behalf of federal agencies and the American people.”
The event will take place from 9 a.m. until 3pm at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue, SW. There is no charge to attend the conference.
Last year’s exhibitors included the City of Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia Power Company, Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Georgia State University Small Business Development Center, The Army Corps of Engineers, and Georgia African-American Chamber of Commerce to name a few. Organizers say they expect this year’s turnout to be even larger.
- Created on 19 June 2013
The NAACP is making an effort to reduce gun violence by holding an information session on a future gun buy-back program at a church in northwest Atlanta.
The program will be taking place at Mount Ephraim Baptist Church Family Fellowship Center, 1202 West Marietta St, and will allow people to sell their firearms to keep guns out of Atlanta communities. The event starts at 6 p.m.
The NAACP has held an event like this before, however the guns that were sold were either old or nonfunctional. Atlanta NAACP President Dr. R.L. White says that the goal of the project is to remove guns that threaten the streets of Atlanta.
“We don’t want people getting guns out of the closet they had in there 50 years and just selling it to get some money. That’s not what we’re trying to do,” said White.
White says that gun violence has become an all-too-common issue in the media. The Task Force is asking the people of Atlanta to help change this by keeping guns out of the wrong hands.
Tonight’s session is for information only and organizers have asked that no one bring firearms to the event.
- Created on 19 June 2013
After being hit with a 15-count indictment from a DeKalb grand jury and checking in and out of the county's jail, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis professed his innocence.
"I do want to make one statement emphatically to the good people of DeKalb County that I've done nothing wrong as I've said from the very beginning. Done nothing wrong and I would never, ever, ever do anything to violate the public trust," Ellis said on Tuesday night outside of his home.
On what he said was the advice of his attorneys, he would not speak to the charges specifically.
Ellis was indicted Tuesday on 15 counts by a grand jury, including 14 felonies. He faces four counts of extortion, two counts of theft by taking and several conspiracy charges, said DeKalb District Attorney Robert James during an afternoon news conference.
The indictment alleges that Ellis tried to extort campaign contributions from companies like CIBER Inc. and their employees and threatened to withhold county business from those that didn't contribute to his campaign.
DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May released a statement Tuesday in response to the indictment.
"This is a sad day for DeKalb County. While every person is clearly innocent until proven guilty, this ongoing saga has been a distraction and continues to bring unwelcome negative publicity to our county and government" said Commissioner May.
"Like all citizens of DeKalb, I pray that there will be a quick resolution to these issues," May added. "Regardless of the accusations of corruption in the CEO's office, my fellow Commissioners and I are committed to keeping our focus on our duties and responsibilities as public servants. We remain steadfast in our commitment to bringing a better future to DeKalb County."
Simply being charged with the felonies could lead to Ellis being removed from office, said DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader. Gov. Nathan Deal, who has already removed members of the county's school board and formed an advisory committee to look into removing State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, could form a similar committee to review removing Ellis from his job.
DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader said the law requires Gov. Nathan Deal to form an advisory committee headed by Attorney General Sam Olens.
If the committee, which would be headed by Attorney General Sam Olens, recommends suspension and the governor implements it, then Commission Chairman Lee May would step in as acting CEO until Ellis either resigns or is cleared or convicted in court.
Below are the charges facing Ellis from the grand jury:
Count 1 – Criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion. Between Feb 17, 2012 and March 21, 2012, attempted to commit theft by extortion. As public official to obtain campaign contribution, Cyber Inc. and JoAnne Wise, threatening to take and withhold action to prevent Cyber Inc. from receiving business from DeKalb. And to end its business with DeKalb after Wise did not respond to demand for money and to say they would not contribute.
Count 2 — Ellis threatened to hurt her reputation if she did not contribute to his campaign.
Count 3 — On June 25, 2012 tried to extort campaign contribution Power and Energy Services. Brandon Cummings did not respond to requests for contribution and after was told Power and Energy would not contribute.
Count 4 — Sept. 25 2012 – Conspiracy with Kevin Walton director of purchasing for unreasonable restraint of trade. Told Walton to prevent work for Power and Energy.
Counts six and seven – Ellis put notes in files that Power and Electric did not return phone calls.
Count 8 — Theft by taking services – ordered Walton to use DeKalb Board meeting agendas and contracting information to create a list of vendors awarded contracts to include contact information so could use vendor list to solicit contributions.
Count 9 — For delivery of the lists for Walton during working hours to R.L. Brown and Associates to make calls
Count 10 – Conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision. Theft of property using Kelvin Walton and three others. Told Walton during normal working hours to use board of commissioner meeting agendas and data to create lists of vendors to use for soliciting campaign contributions.
- Created on 19 June 2013
Gwinnett Medical Center sent out 133 letters to patients who visited the hospital between February and May because there is a chance they may have been exposed to Tuberculosis (TB) at the hospital.
The hospital found out about the tuberculosis issue when an employee was diagnosed with TB.
Symptoms of TB include chronic coughing, night sweats and chest pain and those who were at the hospital are encouraged to contact the state Health Department for testing.
On Tuesday, members of the county and state health departments along with hospital executives held a news conference.
"Once the Health Department officials confirmed this was an active case, Gwinnett Medical Center and our infectious prevention and control manager began the process of identifying those patients who had the most direct contact with that employee," Alan Bier Executive President and Chief Medical Officer told WSB.
- Created on 19 June 2013
A former Atlanta police officer was sentenced to two years in federal prison today for conspiring to accept bribes and lying to FBI agents. Elton Augustin, 32, of Stockbridge, Ga., was an APD officer who worked with the department from June 2007 to August 2007 and used his position to bolseter security at an illegal nightclub was sentenced Tuesday.
"Police officers are sworn to uphold the law and protect the community they serve, but this defendant protected an illegal business in exchange for cash and then lied to federal investigators," said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. "His actions betrayed the community and the honest law enforcement officers who serve honorably every day."
According to Yates, the charges and other information presented in court, Augustin worked at an illegal nightclub in Atlanta where he, along with two other APD officers, received over $10,000 in cash to provide security and prevent police officers from investigating illegal activity at the nightclub, which included gambling, prostitution, drug sales and various permit violations.
"While today's sentencing ends one police officer's career, it is important to note that the vast majority of dedicated law enforcement officers that serve our community understand their oaths to the badge and honor their commitment to their positions of trust," stated Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. "The FBI urges anyone with information regarding activities involving police corruption to contact their nearest FBI field office."
The attorney's office claim found that Augustin and the other officers were posted outside of the nightclub's parking lot to intercept on-duty police officers responding to emergency calls. The officers' presence at the nightclub prevented on-duty officers from discovering the illegal activity and allowed the club to operate undetected for several months.
On September 15, 2007, APD officers shutdown the illegal nightclub and arrested the club's owners. In 2010, federal agents learned about the officers' employment at the club. When confronted, Augustin lied to federal agents investigating his employment there.
The other two APD police officers, Lucius T. Solomon and Eric Jones, were also convicted of bribery charges. Solomon pleaded guilty to bribery and drug trafficking charges on September 2, 2010, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison on December 17, 2010. Jones pleaded guilty to conspiring with Augustin to accept bribes on April 5, 2013, and is awaiting sentencing.
Augustin was sentenced today by United States District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. to serve two years in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, and to perform 100 hours of community service. Augustin was convicted of lying to federal agents after a jury trial on December 7, 2012. On February 14, 2013, Augustin pleaded guilty to conspiring to accept bribes.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Atlanta Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey A. Brown prosecuted the case.
(Photo: US Attorney Sally Yates announcing the case against Augustin, Solomon and Jones)